-- Preparing environmental-impact studies on new construction or logging projects is a tedious job. But it just got a lot easier for consultants and biologists who work on such reports in California. CalBiota, a compact-disk database of the state's rare plant and animal species, can chop the time needed to prepare a study's tables and charts by 80%, says developer Michael Wood of Wood Biological Consulting in Walnut Creek, Calif. A similar CD for Colorado is in the works. EDITED BY Edited by Otis Port
All-Band Radio, All-Species CD
-- Remember the post-9/11 expos?s about incompatible radio systems used by New York's firefighters and police? To Antonio Turgeon, CEO of TechnoConcepts, that was a call to action. His small Van Nuys (Calif.) company has a technology that can enable any two radios to talk to each other. The key is a proprietary chip that sits at the base of an antenna and instantly converts any incoming analog radio signal into digital data. Normally, that process requires a dozen or so tiny analog chips -- and they can handle only one signal format, such as Bluetooth or code division multiple access (CDMA). "Our objective," says Turgeon, "is a handset that can prowl the world and convert any local wireless signal."